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Nienna The Mourning Vala by moon blossom
Nienna, by artist moon blossom

Nienna

Biographical information

Other names
Lady of Mercy, Lady of Pity and Mourning, Nienna the Compassionate
Titles
Queen of the Valar
Date of birth
Before the creation of Arda
Year ascended to the throne
Date of death
Realms ruled
Spouse
None
Weapon
Powers of the Valar

Physical description

Race
Culture
Gender
Female
Height
Hair color
Eye color
Actor
Voice
Character

Nienna (Quenya; IPA [niˈenna] or [niˈjenna] - "Weeping" or "She Who Weeps") is an Ainu, one of the Aratar and a Vala who was responsible for the mercy and grief spread across Arda. She was the sister of Mandos and Irmo and had no spouse. Her part in the Music of the Ainur was one of deep sadness, from which grief entered the world at its beginning.[1] She had dominion over the Halls of Nienna, which were on the western edge of Valinor, looking over the sea.

BiographyEdit

Jenny Dolfen - Masters of Souls

Nienna and the Masters of the Souls, by Jenny Dolfen

Nienna was concerned with mourning, and she pitied the suffering of others, especially the Marring of Arda by Melkor. Yet the lesson of Nienna is not of endless grief, but rather of pity, hope, and the endurance of the spirit.

Nienna dwelt in far western Valinor near Mandos, and she seldom came to Valimar. Her windows looked out beyond the Walls of the Night.[2]

During the creation of the Two Trees, she watered the mound with her tears.[3]

The pity of Nienna is most clearly seen in her support for Melkor when he sued for the pardon of the Valar. Though she spent her time in the world mourning for the destruction he had wreaked in Arda, when he sued for release after his three ages of Captivity, Nienna spoke on his behalf.[4]

After the Flight of the Ñoldor, Nienna mourned for the destruction of the Two Trees, and her tears brought healing, but could not heal the mortal wounds. Thus, the trees brought forth their last flower and fruit, and made into the Sun and Moon.[5]

All that is known about her appearance is that she wore a grey hood.[6] Given that Gandalf was her student, this might (though somewhat doubtfully) have some relevance to his title, the Grey.

Maiar of Nienna Edit

  • Olórin (Gandalf), Nienna's greatest pupil among all the others who dwell in the Halls of Awaiting. She taught him pity and many other things before he was chosen as the second wizard sent to lead the people of Middle-earth into standing against Sauron.

EtymologyEdit

Nienna means weeping or she who weeps in Quenya and comes from the root nei ("tear").[7]

Other versions of the legendariumEdit

In earlier versions, Nienna was the sister of Manwë and Melkor, and was called "queen of shadow".[8]

In The Book of Lost Tales 1, a character similar to Nienna was called Fui (Night), the Death-Goddess. In Gnomish she was Fuil, the Queen of the Dark. She dwelt in halls that bore her name, and had a roof of bats' wings. As Fui, she was the spouse of Vefantur (Mandos in Tolkien's later writings) and dwelt in his halls of Ve. She judged the humans while Vefantur judged the elves.[9]

Nienna govar

Nienna, the Compassionate

Heskil (Winter One) and Núri (One who Sighs) were her names as well. She was also called Qalme-Tari (Mistress of Death).[10]

Similarly, Vairë was an elven storyteller in Tolkien's early writings, but in his later writings Vairë was the wife of Mandos and was responsible for weaving the story of the World.

List of names and pronunciation:

  • Nyenna [ˈɲenːa]
  • Fui (Quenya; IPA [fuɪ] - "Night")
  • Heskil Quenya; IPA [ˈheskil] - "Winter One")
  • Núri (Quenya; IPA [ˈnuːri] - "Sighing One")
  • Qalmë-Tári (Quenya; IPA [ˌkʷalmeˈtaːri] - "Mistress of Death")

Gallery Edit

Ainur of Arda
Lords of the Valar (of Valinor):  Manwë (Súlimo) | Ulmo (Ulubôz) | Aulë (Návatar) | Oromë (Aldaron) | Námo (Mandos) | Irmo (Lórien) | Tulkas (Astaldo)
Queens of the Valar (of Valinor): 
Varda (Elentári) | Yavanna (Kementári) | Nienna | Estë | Vairë | Vána | Nessa
Maiar (of Valinor): 
Eönwë | Ilmarë | Ossë | Uinen | Salmar | Melian | Arien | Tilion | Curumo (Saruman) | Olórin (Gandalf) | Aiwendil (Radagast) | Alatar (Morinehtar) | Pallando (Rómestámo)
Lords of the Valar (The Enemy): 
Morgoth (Melkor)
Maiar (The Enemy):  Sauron (Mairon) | Gothmog | Durin's Bane | Ungoliant | Shelob | Curumo (Saruman)

ReferencesEdit

  1. The Silmarillion, Valaquenta, "Of the Valar"
  2. The Atlas of Middle-earth, The First Age, The Elder Days, "Valinor"
  3. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter I: "Of the Beginning of Days"
  4. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter VI: "Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor"
  5. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XI: "Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor"
  6. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter IX: "Of the Flight of the Noldor"
  7. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 5: The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies"
  8. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 10: Morgoth's Ring, The Annals of Aman
  9. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 10: Morgoth's Ring, The Later Quenta Silmarillion, The First Phase, "Of the Valar"
  10. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. 1: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, Appendix: Names in the Lost Tales – Part I

External linkEdit

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